0134

A Babel built of brick

"Manchester:  a sky turned coppery red by the setting un; a cloud. strangely shaped resting upon the plain; and under this motionless cover a bristling of chimneys by hundreds, as tall as obelisks.  The a mass, a heap, blackish, enormous, endless rows of buildings; and you are there, at the heart of a Babel built of brick. . . ."  "Earth and air seem impregnated with fog and soot. The factories extend their flanks of fouler brick one after another, bare, with shutterless windows, like economical and colossal prisons . . . and inside, lit by gas-jets and deafened by the uproar of their own labour, toil thousands of workmen, penned in, regimented, hands active, feet motionless, all day and every day, mechanically serving their machines. . . ."  "What dreary streets!  Through half-open windows we could see wretched rooms at ground level, or even below the damp earth's surface.  Masses of livid children, dirty and flabby of flesh, crowd each threshold and breathe the vile air of the street, less vile than that within. . . . "

Source Hippolyte Taine describes Manchester in 1859
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